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Regular Meeting – December 3, 2014

The regular meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Homer held on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014, in the board room of the Town Hall building was called to order by Supervisor Frederick J. Forbes, Sr, at 7:30 p.m.

PRESENT

                Frederick J Forbes, Sr, Supervisor

                Barry E Warren, Councilman

                Dan A Weddle, Councilman

                Kevin M Williams, Councilman

                Brian D Young, Councilman

                Patrick M Snyder, Attorney for the Town  John R Phelps, Highway Superintendent               

                Anita W Jebbett, Town Clerk

OTHERS PRESENT

                Nancy Ruscio, Superintendent, Homer Central Schools

                Michael Falls, Director of Business & Finance, Homer Central Schools         

                Bernie Zolla, technical assistant, Homer Central Schools

                Linda Jones, County Legislator-elect

                Larry Jones, resident

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

MINUTES

                The minutes of the November 5th, 2014, Public Hearing, Bid Opening and Regular Meeting were approved as presented, on motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Weddle and carried unanimously.

FIRE DISTRICT CONTRACT

                On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Young and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that the new contract between the Village of Homer and the Homer Fire District for fire protection outside of the boundaries of the Village for a period of three years, with payment for 2015 to be $84,714, for 2016 to be $85,414, and for 2017 to be $86,314, be approved as amended (copy attached).

HOMER CENTRAL SCHOOL FACILITIES IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

                  Homer School Superintendent Nancy Ruscio gave a presentation on the Facilities Improvement

Project whichproposes to renovate the current Hartnett Elementary School in Truxton into a “New Tech” regional high school.  The Project will be subject to a referendum on December 16th.

MONTHLY REPORTS

                Presented for audit by the Board were: 

  1. The Town Clerk’s report of all receipts and disbursements for November.
  2. The Supervisor’s report of all receipts and disbursements for November.
  3. The Code Enforcement Officer’s report of all building permits issued in November.

BILLS TO BE PAID

                General bills were approved as audited on motion by Councilman Young, seconded Councilman Weddle and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED:  that General Fund vouchers #256 through #279 totaling $58,765.53 be approved for payment.

                Highway bills were approved as audited on motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Williams and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that Highway Fund vouchers #170 through #190 totaling $43,254.68 be approved for payment. 

OLD BUSINESS

                Dog Control Contract – On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Young and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that the contract with the Dog Control Officer, Lindsay Andersen, for 2015 is hereby approved, with changes relating to reimbursement for mileage. 

                Tractor bid award – On motion by Councilman Young, seconded by Councilman Weddle and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that the bid for a four-wheel drive tractor with a three-point hitch and front end loader be awarded to Cazenovia Equipment for their bid of $83,813.95 which includes a two-year warranty.

                Speed limit reduction – Supervisor Forbes reported that the State has posted the signs to lower the speed limit on Route 281 to 35 mph from the Village limits to Hooker Ave.

                Resignation of Town Assessor – A letter of resignation was received from Town Assessor David Briggs on November 18th, 2014.  He resigned as of December 31st, 2014.  There was discussion about working with the City of Cortland and other Towns formerly covered by Briggs to search for a new assessor.  Because the Homer Clerk to the Assessor, Frances Armstrong, is willing to stay on and handles the exemptions, it was determined that, if necessary, the Town could be without an assessor until at least mid-February of next year.

                Letter from McGraw Village Board – Supervisor Forbes read a letter from the McGraw Village Board which asked the Town to pass a resolution stating their opposition to the “Ash for Trash” proposal for the County Landfill.  No action was taken.

                Board of Assessment Review – On motion by Supervisor Forbes, seconded by Councilman Williams and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that Hugh Riehlman is appointed to a one-year term as a temporary member of the Board of Assessment Review, that Leclar Dennis be appointed to a fiveyear term and Steven Triolo to a four-year term as members of the Board of Assessment Review.

                Court audit – Accountant Colin Cahill continues to work on the audit of the Court records from 2013, the last year of the term of former Town Justice Gary Shiffer.

                Contract with County for winter road maintenance – Highway Superintendent Phelps stated that he would like to continue to provide snow/ice removal on Health Camp Road and East Homer Baltimore Road in exchange for payment from the County.  

On motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by Councilman Young and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that the Town enter into negotiations with the County for a new five-year contract for winter highway maintenance.

HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT

                Highway Superintendent Phelps explained changes to the current drug and alcohol testing provided by a county-wide organization for 2015. 

 He has hired a new employee, John Lansdowne, and Dan Fox will be returning as a part-time seasonal employee for the winter season.

                Phelps said he is looking into purchasing a four-wheel drive one-ton diesel pickup truck.  He will also be working on a plan of action for repairing the Wall Street Bridge as required by the State Department of Transportation.

ATTORNEY FOR THE TOWN

                Attorney Snyder discussed the need to review and revise the procurement policy from time to time. Changes in the General Municipal Law have increased the thresholds for required bidding procedures. The law also now allows “piggybacking” onto other municipal bids if the proper procedures are followed.  This can include certain other joint purchasing entities.  The board members indicated that they would like to see the procurement policy revised to incorporate these additional features.   On motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by Supervisor Forbes and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that the Attorney for the Town be authorized to draft a new procurement policy for consideration at the next Town Board meeting.

                Snyder reported that the local law establishing a moratorium on gas drilling was filed with the Secretary of State on November 10th and will expire on May 10th, 2015.

                Attorney Snyder expressed his frustration with a total lack of information being given in response to his FOIL request to the US Natural Resources Conservation Service for information on New Hope View Farm’s manure storage pit on Foster-Moore Road.  Not one piece of paper relevant to that project was disclosed.  It is his impression that lobbying efforts by large farms in other states have resulted in exemptions from the Freedom of information act which preclude the release of information which the public should have a right to know.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

                                                                                                                                Anita W. Jebbett

                                                                                                                                Town Clerk